The tale of the girl white as snow, red as blood, and black as ebony is one that is famously told in two ways; one from the perspective of two German brothers, while the other is from the viewpoint of an ambitious animator. The two versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs vary in several aspects but their portrayal of the female protagonist is similar. Snow White is the female that is young, beautiful, but innocent and naïve. She does not question why the Huntsman is taking her into the forest, or try to try to protect herself as her step mother attempts to kill her. Both have Snow White represent what they think women should be doing: cooking, cleaning, sewing and taking care of the household. Her beauty is her only helpful asset, otherwise the Huntsmen would not have set her free, or the dwarfs have taken her in. The similar representation of Snow White allows for the differences in the other characters to be noticed.
Stumbling into their home, Snow White is aided by the seven dwarfs that reside in the cottage in the forest. In comparing these men between the original and Disney versions there are differences. In the Grimm’s story the dwarfs are “indescribably dainty and neat”, and after they discover the beautiful seven year old child in the seventh dwarf’s bed, they agree to let her continue to stay with them if she cooks, makes the beds, wash, sew and knit. These dwarfs do not actually need Snow White. She is an extra appendage in their life that they keep even though they were able to manage and live comfortably before she arrived. This varies from the Disney version because after a clearly matured Snow White is guided by a group of forest creatures to the dwarfs’ cottage she takes the maternal figure by cleaning up the dirty, cobweb filled house, and making dinner for the seven children she believes live in the cottage. Disney even portrays the dwarfs as childish. Snow White becomes their motherly figure by not only cooking and cleaning for them, but making them wash before dinner, and then kissing them on their heads before they go to work. They retain some of the adult characteristic that the Grimm’s gave them, by warning Snow White of the evil queen coming after her, and then try to come to her rescue after her poisoning of an apple. Their rescue also points out another difference between the two versions. In the Grimm’s version the queen tries three times to kill Snow White, while Disney’s film only included the apple. Yet, in both versions the person who Snow White's savior is the Prince.
Right from the beginning there are differences between the two versions of the Prince. In the Disney film, the royalty makes an appearance in the beginning of the film and at the end, to kiss his “true love” awake. In the Grimm version, the Prince makes his first appearance at the end of the tale, falling in love with the sleeping Snow White, the dwarfs pitying him, and allowing him to return to his father’s castle with the coffin. After a servant stumbles over some shrubs, the piece of apple is dislodged from Snow White’s throat and she then awakens in the company of the Prince. In the literary version there is no magical kiss that wakes up Snow White. The film version of Snow White was a project that was under the complete control of Walt Disney during its three-year creation. Disney had the film giving a message of hope during the Great Depression, and that those who were patient would have good things happen to them. The many changes from the original tale were made to make the story more Americanized, timely, but through the film Disney was able to project his own taste, beliefs, and his own self into the film, what Donald Crafton refers to as “self configuration,” in his book, Before Mickey: The Animated Film. It is how the movie is made that makes the film the film we see, therefore the real focal point of the movie is the animator and not so much the movie itself. You see this with the characters of the Seven Dwarfs and the Prince. While the dwarfs were the ones to take care of Snow White, to raise her, house her, and care for her, the Prince is the one that gets all of the credit and glory for saving her. This was the situation for the animators and Walt Disney himself; while the animators worked, Disney received all of the credit. The mirror on the wall can represent the patriarchal approval of beauty, but for this tale Disney was able to use this film to as a reflection of his own life. Walt Disney took the German tale and transformed it into something that projected his own fairy tale of his life.